French students in queue for food aid amid pandemic

University students in France have been grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and rising inflation, which have led to increased living costs and joblessness.

Many students facing financial troubles are lining up in front of the Linkee charity in the 13th district of Paris to receive aid packages.

Amid the pandemic, most families cannot afford to adequately help their children who are studying at university because they have lost income or their jobs.

But high rents in the country, especially in Paris, and a reduction in accommodations and job opportunities for students as well as the high inflation of the last 10 years have also put students in difficult circumstances.

Lining up for food aid, Axelle said she used to do babysitting to make a living while continuing her education but lost her job a while ago due to the pandemic.

“I no longer have the additional income I earned for food. Rental aid given by the government is not enough to meet all my needs,” she told Anadolu Agency.

Unable to get a scholarship from the state either, Axelle stressed that the state does not provide a sufficient amount of aid.

“I receive rent aid of €100 (around US$116). It isn’t enough to pay rent and buy food. Families can’t meet all the needs of students. We expect economic aid from the state.”

Another student, Gabriela, who moved from Poland to France to attend a university, said: “I come from a less wealthy country than France. Achieving a normal life isn’t easy. [But] the food aid I receive here makes me financially comfortable.”

Evathie, who is pursuing an education at Paris Diderot University, said: “We don’t always get substantial support for nutrition. Moreover, there are rent and bill payments and transportation fees.”

Also, Clemence said the scholarship given by the state is not enough, adding: “The support given by the government is gradually decreasing.”

Clara, 19, said she cannot make a living despite working on weekends.

She has been coming here every week for a year and receiving food aid, she said, adding last year, the meal fee at universities was just €1 (around US$1.16), but this year, it increased and she could not receive a scholarship from the state.

“Many of my student friends are having economic problems. Life is very expensive here. Fortunately, there is food aid,” said Elouan.

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